President Biden is already reaching out to moderate House Republicans to strike a deal on raising the debt ceiling, but Kevin McCarthy could end the curtain if the far right doesn’t achieve the stalemate they crave.
The White House has been working behind the scenes around Speaker Kevin McCarthy, including sending its top advisers to meet with moderate Republicans — especially those winning in districts that President Joe Biden won in 2020 — in hopes that Democrats will Those Republican lawmakers can be counted on to cross the aisle and raise the debt ceiling.
“I think it’s a real possibility,” said a senior House Republican. “Kevin would probably like that to happen because it frees him from — ‘I didn’t do this.'”
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With only a four-seat Republican majority in the House, Biden can negotiate a debt-ceiling deal with moderate Republicans in districts the president won in 2020. If Biden wins five moderate seats, House Democrats will be able to use removal petitions to force a vote on raising the debt ceiling. If the bill passes the House, McCarthy and the far right will be defeated and a crisis averted.
The worst-case scenario for McCarthy is that the far right doesn’t believe he didn’t do it, or that he can’t stop Biden from working around him, and then files a motion to resign, ending his Speakership.
If McCarthy could be bypassed, the White House would not need to negotiate with McCarthy.
The right circled the debt ceiling as their moment of grand confrontation with Biden. If they don’t get the showdown and spending cuts they crave, the fringes of the Republican House caucus will grow irate, and McCarthy will likely be the one to pay the price.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a congressional correspondent for the White House Press Fellowship and PoliticusUSA. Jason has a BA in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, specializing in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Association of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association